Track days: Not Just for Racers
Contrary to what a lot of people believe, track days are not just for racers or those looking to get a quick fix of super fast riding. Track days are valuable for all riders in that they offer an incredibly safe, and enjoyable way to practice and improve your riding, no matter what your skill level, riding experience, or riding pace.
Some people are hesitant to do a track day because they are intimidated by the idea of riding on a “track” and they worry about being too slow or getting in the way of other riders. However, riding on a track is really no different than riding on the street except for the fact that it is safer and free from the usual road distractions. If anything, riding on a track should be LESS intimidating then riding on the road. Tracks provide a safe and controlled environment where you can run the same corners over and over throughout the day in order to practice specific riding skills and boost your confidence.
Most track organizations have several riding groups to choose from so that you are on track with others of similar skill and speed. Novice, Slow, Intermediate, Fast, and Racer are examples of the kind of groups offered, and they all have mandatory riders meetings where they go over the safety rules and flags before they do orientation laps. Some track day providers also offer coaching (either included in the price or for a little extra).
Track days are also a great place to meet and learn from other riders. As my husband says, track days are like “real life forums” where you can pick up advice or info from more experienced riders or racers, where you can ask questions about suspension set up, machinery, gear, riding schools, books, or local roads, where you can bench race and share stories. As is typical with riders in general, everyone at the track is there for the same reason (to have fun) and they are willing to answer questions and help out the newer riders.
There are many organizations, big and small that run track days across the country and while they may vary in price, organizational structure, and track layout, the principals are the same. You make a few basics modifications to your own bike to make it track worthy or your rent or borrow a track ready version, you pay your fee, attend a rider’s meeting where they go over the rules and flags, you ride in a group according to your skill/speed level and you have a kick ass time while learning how to ride better. Each organization will explain their own rules to you when you sign up, just look up a local provider in your area ask some questions and give it a try.
Primarily track riding is all about having fun and improving your riding skills in a controlled environment away from traffic, cops, speed limits, and regular dangers and distractions found on the street. It’s a safe place to learn more about your bike and improve your own riding, and it’s fun, so what are you waiting for?
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